Recently we received this report of the 2002 national congress of the Partito
della Rifondazione Comunista (PRC, Party of Communist Refoundation). It is
written by a comrade who was in the thick of the battle for ideas that took
place at the congress, which came at an extremely interesting moment.
The Italian workers have come out in force in opposition to the present
Berlusconi government, with 3 million demonstrating in Rome, and a general strike of over 13 million workers.
The next period will put to the test all tendencies within the labour movement, and
we are confident that the genuine ideas of Marxism will, in the end, win the day.
Right-wing premier Berlusconi has announced his plans to modify
article 18 of the workers' statute (law protecting workers' rights) so
that it does not cover
workplaces with less than 15 workers. CGIL leader Sergio Cofferati
declared that his union would
reject all modifications and would do all in its power to stop such
being implemented. Strikes have already taken place, and it is clear
that the Italian working class will be in an even more combative mood
by the autumn. Berlusconi's anti-working class measures combined with
the effects of the current economic downturn are an explosive mixture.
After the government had reached an agreement with the other two trade union
federations (CISL and UIL), the main federation, the CGIL, under the
pressure of millions of workers, is preparing to organise another general
strike for October 18. This time Cofferati is forced to go it alone. This
will be the first time since 1968 that Italy will experience a "non-unitary"